Jan. 21, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa women's gymnastics team hosted Illinois Saturday evening and gave the fans a show with a 195.075-195.075 tie. Iowa topped the Fighting Illini in three of four events but Illinois made up the difference on beam. The GymHawks remain unbeaten in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and undefeated in Big Ten competition.
"It felt great to put a different team out there tonight than we did last week," said Head Coach Larissa Libby. "It started with our upperclassmen and spread throughout the lineup, but it was a change we needed. A much improved score is something for our team to grab on to and they needed that tonight. There's only so much you can control and that's attitude and effort. We did a great job of controlling both."
The Hawkeyes used depth throughout the lineup as a different student-athlete led the team in each event. Not only did Iowa improve on last week's total team score by nearly two points, it improved its team score on all for events.
Iowa jumped out to an early lead with a 48.775-48.575 decision on vault. Junior Maya Wickus took home a share of the event title with a score of 9.850, Iowa highest mark of the night. Junior Emma Stevenson posted an impressive 9.800 to finish third. Sophomore Tesla Cox and freshman Emma Willis both posted a 9.725 and tied for fifth.
The GymHawks competed on bars in the second rotation where they outscored Illinois 49.000-48.675. Senior Jordan Eszlinger, along with Stevenson, paced the team with a tally of 9.825. The pair tied for second place. Junior Kaitlynn Urano tied for fourth with a 9.800 as Willis, Cox and senior Jessa Hansen tied for sixth with scores of 9.775.
Iowa moved to beam in the third rotation where it scored a 48.450, behind Illinois' 49.000. Hansen led the Hawkeyes with a 9.800, earning herself a tie for second place. Senior Annie Szatkowski tied for sixth with a mark of 9.750 while freshman Emily Bigras finished eighth with a 9.725.
The GymHawks finished with a 48.850-48.825 win over Illinois on floor. Junior Emma Stevenson pushed her team with a fourth place score of 9.800. Hansen, senior Rachel Corcoran and freshman Miranda Meyer all scored a 9.775 to tie for fifth. Freshman Sydney Hoerr finished eighth with a score of 9.725.
Willis was Iowa's lone all-around competitor once again. The Sarnia, Ontario, native tallied a 38.725 and finished fourth.
"I've very, very pleased with the overall presentation of what they did tonight," said Libby. "That was a classier team that was out their tonight. It's a stronger team. It's a more intense team and there's more intensity in there. They can bring it with them. We had about 50 percent of it tonight, so just imagine. I'm really excited to go the distance with them because it will happen."
The Hawkeyes will hit the road for a instate rivalry against Iowa State Jan. 27. The event will be the first of two opportunities for both programs to earn points for their university in the annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawks Series. Competition will be held in Hilton Coliseum and is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. (CT).